Monday, October 22, 2012

My! What Long Telomeres You Have!

Have you heard of Telomeres?

In 2009, Anti-aging mogel Elizabeth Blackburn et al won the Nobel Prize for their work on telomeres. 

A telomere is a molecular timepiece that resides on the end of a chromosome.  It's like a tail.   Some liken it to a plastic bit on the end of a shoelace.  Studies show that each time a cell divides to replicate itself, the telomere shortens.  It simply shortens and shortens until eventually, one day, it can no longer replicate because the telomere is too short.  The cell then either becomes inactive, or it dies.    Telomeres are linked to aging healthy.

Figure.  The telomere.   The end-portion of the chromosome replicates such that long telomere lengthmay act as a barometer to predict whether a person will or will not remain healthy.

In his quest for immortality, Bill Andrews, also known as The Man Who Would Stop Time, probed for twenty years to understand the mechanisms of aging.  On his 57,648th try, he discovered the gene that turns on the telomerase enzyme that makes telomeres.  And, he discovered that if normal cells are supplied with a continual source of telomerase, they will continue and continue to divide without dying.  Telomerase consists of two key components:  one is the RNA that stays there to serve as a continuing template for further synthesis, and the other is a protein that synthesizes the DNA needed to keep the genetic chromosome replicating over and over again. 

Aging has to do with telomere shortening.  If you have longer telomeres, then you are more likely to live healthy beyond 60 years old.  Studies have shown that if you are 60 or older and have short telomeres, you are more likely to get diagnosed with the big killers:  cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.  You also are more likely to get diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.  

Patients with aplastic anemia and shorter telomeres do not survive as well as their counterparts with longer telomeres.  The possible links between telomere biology and the risk of various cancers have been described.  Patients from lower socio-economic groups have been shown to have shorter telomeres than their twins.  

The following items can increase telomere length, and it's good news that many of these are the same lifestyle, supplement, or healthy living choices that we promote at Cenegenics:  diet, exercise, an appropriate body composition, vitamin D, antioxidants, multivitamins, fish oil, and others.  Enter TA-65.    And longer telomere profiles are associated with better lipid profiles, better cognition, a decreased risk of hypertension, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. 

TA-65 is in a class of drugs called telomerase activators.  It is the first and only drug of its class, licensed to TA Sciences.  Some believe that TA-65 will transform traditional medicine's practice of treating disease once it occurs, and instead focus on preventive medicine's focus of discovering disease susceptibility before it gets a chance to become realized. 

Don't believe that you will gain the same benefits as the next person on this drug.  The very nature of TA-65 is that you may have shortened telomeres in one organ system, and this may differ from the next person.  So what TA-65 does is hone in on the shortest telomeres in a person's organ system, individualizing treatment because of the nature of this beast.

Effects of TA-65 include but are not limited to:  increased energy, increased stamina, decreased hours of needed sleep, improved productivity, increased libido, increased joint flexibility, improved skin appearance, improved visual acuity.  Laboratory findings may include increased bone density, improved T-cell count and improved immune function. 

Side effects:  none reported to date. 
Drug interactions:  none reported to date. 

So, it may be appropriate to start with a new compliment:

"My!  What long telomeres you have!"


Cherkas, LF, et al.  The effects of social status on biological aging as measured by white-blood-cell telomere length.  Read Article Here. Issue

Aging Cell

Aging Cell

Volume 5Issue 5pages 361–365October 2006

Contie, Vickie.  Telomere length linked to outcomes in aplastic anemia.  NIH Research Matters.  September 27, 2010.  Read Article Here.

Genes that Protect the Chromosome Tips may Boost Longevity.  NIH Research Matters.  November 23, 2009.  Read Article Here.

Hooper, Joseph.  The Man Who Would Stop Time. August 2, 2011.   Read Article Here

Telomere Biology and the Risk of Cancer.  Read Article Here.


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Full Disclosure: Margaret A. Ferrante, M.D.  is an Institute Physician with Cenegenics Medical Institute.  She receives no monetary compensation for hosting this website you are on, which is independent and not affiliated with Cenegenics. The information presented is for education and awareness.  Dr. Ferrante currently sees patients out of the Cenegenics office in Beverly Hills, CA. 
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